In today’s current economy the job market has become flooded with prospective employees. Thanks to so many highly qualified individuals that currently find themselves unemployed, hiring managers find themselves with piles of resumes to go through. This condition makes it even more important to make an amazing first impression when you get chosen for an interview.
Obviously, if you are called in for an interview, then your resume has already made a great impression and got you in the door, but now you need to sell yourself and your qualities in person – which can be intimidating, to say the least. Here are a few strategies to follow in order to ace the interview.
1. Give the interviewer what they want. With thorough research before your interview, you can find out the specific industry needs of your potential employer. Going into your job interview prepared and ready to show them how you can meet those specific needs gives you an advantage on the competition.
2. Presentation matters. Clothes and grooming only comprise a portion of what good presentation is. Be on time, be polite and be enthusiastic about the job. As always, wear professional clothes with neutral colors (black, white, dark blue). You should usually dress as well as the top executives in the firm. This is often a suit and tie for men and a dress suit or pant suit with blazer for women.
3. Remember that even the most cliché job questions need answers. Even though the typical question of, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” seems easy to answer, you should still prepare short, concise answers to these types of questions. There are plenty of online resources where you can find examples of these typical interview questions and get help in preparing short, appropriate answers.
4. Remember the Process of Elimination. Most interview processes require numerous rounds of interviews. The first round of interviews is usually meant to be a weeding-out process, more over than a hiring decision. If you do not portray your qualifications adequately in the first interview, then you will quickly be disqualified. So be prepared to really make your attributes and technical skills shine in that first interview.
5. Never Lie. It may seem obvious, but lying will catch up to you. If you do manage to pull the wool over the interviewer’s eyes and land the job, then they will quickly discover your lies when you begin working and display your lack of skills. If there is a skill that you are not familiar with, then simply admit that in the interview, but make sure to stress your quickness and willingness to learn the skill.
6. Keep calm and carry on. It seems probable that a question will be asked that you simply didn’t expect and cannot come up with an answer for. If this situation arises: STAY CALM and CARRY ON. It is best to give a short, concise answer that will still give a positive impression. So, if you don’t have a specific answer to a question, then highlight another relevant skill or situation that you have dealt with in the past to show your coping strategies.
7. Remember the scenario questions. Interviewers are very fond of asking what would you do if….? These types of scenario questions are meant to show your potential employer how you would react to a typical on-the-job situation that is likely to arise. Prepare for these questions by imagining some scenarios that may arise on the job. Create potential questions from the detailed job description and have a few examples ready for how you would deal with some likely situations in the role. Make sure your answers show your ability to deal with different situations, and reference your previous successes in your responses.
Overall, the interview process can be stressful. But with the proper preparation and presentation, you can rise to the top and hopefully win the job of your dreams.
About the Author
David Kochanek is the Publisher of Job Search Digest and its related services for Private Equity, Investment Banking and Hedge Fund Jobs. He brings over 20 years of professional experience, including client management with a top 10 consulting firm and executive recruiting. Mr. Kochanek is a graduate of Albion College and can be reached here.